MORE than 11 per cent of those seriously injured in traffic accidents in Almeria are cyclists, significantly higher than the national average at 7.5 per cent.
Cycling deaths are shooting up nationally, according to 2016 data from Foremaster, the Professional Association of Road Safety Training Companies.
There has been a 36.7 per cent increase in bike users dying on the country’s roads in the last five years.
Some 67 people died in 2016, accounting for 3.7 per cent of all Spanish deaths.
With summer holidays rapidly approaching, bicycle use is set to peak and the number of incidents is likely to follow suit.
In Spain as a whole, 7.5 per cent of all road traffic accidents involve cyclists, considerably lower than in Almeria province.
In addition, 2.5 per cent of all those killed in collisions are bicycle users, a worryingly high figure, Foremaster said.
The most common cycling crash is a side-on or frontside on collision accounting for 24 per cent of all biking incidents.
Some 11 per cent of injuries are caused by the car not slowing down in time or failing to keep a safe distance and smashing into the cyclist from behind.
But cyclists are often to blame too.
The most common cause is not keeping the required distance from vehicles, at 4.6 per cent of accidents, followed by disrespecting vehicles which priority on crossings accounting for 2.5 per cent of incidents.
The third most frequent reason is cutting into the oncoming traffic’s lane.
Helmet use is increasing on interurban routes, a legal requirement, with 82 per cent protecting their heads.
But, the digits flip for urban cyclists who only cover up top 28 per cent of the time.
The low rate is partly because of the increasing number of rental bikes used in urban centres, which do not come with helmets.
Foremaster has published some tips to help cyclists keep safe on the roads ahead of summer’s peak season.
- Always wear a helmet
- Use the cycling lane if there is one, or otherwise use the far-right hand side of the road or the hard shoulder
- Always respect the signs. Do not skip stops or traffic lights in town even with good visibility
- Use lights and reflectors both during the day and the night
- Signal all your turns with a hand and never place yourself in a vehicle’s blind spot
- Do not use your phone or listen to music while riding
- Stay below a 45 km/h maximum speed
- Slow down and keep a safe distance from bike users
- Do not use the horn unless in an emergency
- Overtake with care. Slow down beforehand and leave more than a metre and a half between your vehicle and the bike
- Do not drive in cycle lanes or park on one
- Drivers do not have priority over cyclists when they are in a cycle lane
- The cyclist has priority when in a group of other cyclists. On roundabouts or crossings, the driver must wait until the last cyclist in a group has completed the manouvre
- When leaving your car in a bicycle lane, check there is no cyclist coming before you open your door.